Culture and arts season to open in September
Culture and Tourism Deputy Minister Özgül Özkan Yavuz has said the art season that was shut down early due to the COVID-19 pandemic will open one month earlier this year.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Yavuz provided information about the details of 2020-2021 culture and arts season.
Reminding that the theater, opera and ballet and symphony orchestras of the ministry drew their curtains in March due to the new type of coronavirus, Yavuz stated that the worst thing for the artists was not being able to meet the audience. Yavuz said that they want to evaluate outdoor spaces effectively with the normalization period.
Stating that they have been working on the “truck theater” project carried out by the State Theaters for eight months, Yavuz said that they made a truck that turns into a huge theater stage when opened, and completed the project’s investment and production process.
“With the truck theater, we will go to 57 districts in 25 provinces in eastern and southeastern Turkey for 50 days between July 1 and Aug. 20. Children in the most remote corners and districts will see four children’s plays. We will realize this in open air in cooperation with governors’ offices and district governor’s offices. We made the truck a stage. It turns into a professional stage, not a simple thing. There will be an activity series where children can watch the theater in the open air.”
Explaining that they will start the truck theater project in Ankara and they chose two neighborhoods from the two disadvantaged districts of the capital, Yavuz said that the Konya State Theater will carry out another special project to be held in the open air and will stage children’s plays in provinces, districts and villages in the central Anatolian province of Konya.
She said that they will establish a stage in open air in the State Theaters Ankara İrfan Şahinbaş Campus, adding, “Our theater performances will be regularly shown at Ankara İrfan Şahinbaş Campus in July. Ankara residents will view open-air performances in the summer evenings. Culture and arts have great benefits for human psychology. I believe it will be a good morale.”
Noting that the outdoor activities that started last year in Bodrum will continue this year, too, Yavuz said that they will bring together local and foreign visitors in 10 concerts and three theater performances in the Bodrum Castle and Antique Theater.
Yavuz also added that the event program was scheduled, the play “Reis Bey” will be staged by the Ankara State Theater on July 12, “Akide Şeker” by the Bursa State Theater on Aug. 26 and 27, and “Kantocu” by the İzmir State Theater on Sept. 7 and 8, and that they also work to bring theater to the ancient cities, too.
Ephesus, Bodrum and Aspendos ballet festivals to be held
Yavuz said that the opera and ballet festivals will be brought together with the audience by the State Opera and Ballet.
“We start our festivals with the Opera and Ballet Festival. We will organize the 18th International Bodrum Ballet Festival between Aug. 4 and18 and the International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival between Sept. 1 and 22. This year, international participation will not be that much. We have six State Opera and Ballet troupes. They have very good performances. We will also organize the 11th Istanbul Opera Festival from Sept. 23 to Oct. 5. Ephesus, Bodrum and Aspendos festivals will be organized, and we are searching outdoor alternatives for Istanbul. Until then, we will look at how the process will progress with the pandemic. Of course, we will follow all the measures issued by the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Board. We also make the spaces suitable for this.”
Yavuz emphasized that the all-artistic facilities including the theater stages, concert halls, opera and ballet halls have been prepared for the new season within the scope of the fight against COVID-19. Explaining that by preparing a protocol for the halls, they improved the conditions of air conditioning, determined the number of viewers and how the audience will be accepted to the halls and increase the general hygiene rules, Yavuz said all the rules have been rewritten for three general directorates and all art institutions.
“Currently, the health conditions and pandemics will be considered, but our goal is to use our halls with 50 percent capacity. We have decided what measures to take in the entrance and exit. The halls have started the preparation process for this. I announce this for the first time; our goal is to start the art season on Sept. 1. We want to make up for the three months we lost. We had many performances that were not able to meet with the audience. Let’s start on Sept. 1 and meet our audience as soon as possible. We will be on the stage with increased hygienic and physical conditions that protect both our artists and our audience. The epidemic continues to be a problem all over the world, but we have to continue our lives. We need to take our measures and continue our social cooperation. Culture, arts and tourism are precious. We will organize our activities in safe environments,” Yavuz said.